Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 February 2022) . . Page.. 169 ..
Office-based accommodation, however, provides a slightly different role, and having dedicated facilities would complement the community centre we have already committed to. Office accommodation provides community service organisations with the space they need to plan their programs and coordinate their business and regulatory obligations. As the need for services has grown with our community, so, too, should the places we provide for them. Property Group has a long history of assisting our community service partners by providing office accommodation at community rates, giving them the that certainty they need to get on with the great things that they organise. Anyone who has listened to past debates in this place will also know that there is an appetite from the Gungahlin community to see more office accommodation in this town centre, making a project to support our community sector and grow the office footprint in Gungahlin a win-win. I look forward to working with the minister and seeing what can come from renewing and growing the places and spaces where our community comes together.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (2.51): I thank Ms Orr for bringing this motion before the Assembly today, and acknowledge her ongoing interest in and good connections with many of the community services that are tenants of ACT Property Group properties, owned by the ACT government.
Community facilities play a really important role in the social fabric of our city. They provide places for people to come together, learn from each other, access support and services, and feel connected to the community. The ACT Property Group currently manages 238 territory-owned commercial buildings, government office sites, community or multipurpose buildings, and leisure facilities. Of these, almost 70 per cent are classified as community-use buildings.
These facilities span a diverse range of properties and types of accommodation, from community hubs delivered in former school sites to office accommodation, regional community centres and freestanding halls. These facilities are distinct from the ACT government’s public housing property portfolio, which is managed by my colleagues Minister Berry and Minister Vassarotti.
Property Group is currently landlord to 219 different community tenants of whom a large proportion are on peppercorn lease arrangements. The ACT government is proud to be able to provide a home for groups which deliver services and supports directly to the community, including child care; disability support organisations; social services and mental health providers; arts organisations; health and wellbeing organisations; and those supporting Canberra’s new migrants, amongst many. Ms Orr touched on a couple of the fantastic community organisations and fantastic community facilities that we have.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, we have provided rent relief for many of these tenants, helping to reduce their costs so that they could focus on supporting our community through these very difficult times. Since April 2020, we have waived over $5 million in rent across the Property Group portfolio, and $13 million across the ACT government.